Lesson 7: Applying Construction to Vehicles
6:35 PM, Wednesday January 25th 2023
Let's get some critique :)
Starting with your form intersections, your work here is generally coming along pretty well. The one thing I want to draw to your attention is the intersection between the cylinder and box towards the bottom right of the page. While this is actually very close to correct, the piece that is missing is that the intersection line itself suggests that the curved surface of the cylinder is intersecting with a plane that is set at a much steeper incline, and so it comes off the surface of the box. Be sure to consider the angle of both intersecting surfaces, as they both come into play when determining the particular orientation of a given intersection line.
Continuing onto your cylinders in boxes, it appears that you may have rushed ahead into this one without adequately reviewing the instructions - specifically the instructions on how the line extensions are to be applied, as you appear to have only put down lines to extend the boxes' edges, and the minor axis lines of each ellipse, but not the contact point lines. Be sure to review those instructions so you're aware of exactly what it is you're being asked to do. While it's not a big deal when it comes to a single page of the exercise, the purpose of the exercise is very much bound to the error analysis we perform afterwards, so we can identify what to adjust in our approach when next practicing the exercise. Without applying the line extensions in their entirety, we're working with partial information, which severely undermines what we stand to gain from it.
Moving onto your form-intersection-vehicles, you've done a solid job here. Many students mistake this exercise for something much more involved (and will often try to build up their forms while applying the constructing-to-scale approach, putting down a whole grid and all. What you've done here is exactly what was asked - just arranging the same primitives we use in the form intersection exercise in the layout of a vehicle, so we can remind ourselves that even though we're working with grids, we're still working with complete forms - not individual edges that get stitched together as needed. Focusing on the complete nature of these forms helps us maintain the focus on the process itself, how we're just combining forms bit by bit, and at all times have a solid structure (as opposed to the impression that until we reach the later phases, we've just got a mess of lines).
Continuing forward to your more detailed vehicle constructions, you continue to do a very good job. You're showing a great deal of patience and care, not only as you build out each structure, but also in observing and studying your references to identify exactly what it is you're building up. You're demonstrating a very strong capacity for keeping track of a lot of information (in terms of all the grid lines and subdivisions).
My only real critiques are somewhat superficial. The main thing I wanted to give you a reminder of is that in this course (specifically due to the tools we use, with the strict use of black/white and nothing in between), that when we leverage our filled areas of solid black, we do so only to capture cast shadows. I think you've largely demonstrated an awareness of this, but there were some little cases where you deviated from this.
For example, on this one, where you filled in the wheel well, and on this one where you filled in the gaps between the grill as well as the opposite wheels. Remember that a cast shadow is always going to require us to design the given shadow shape such that it establishes the relationship between the form casting the shadow, and the surface receiving it. It's rather easy if we're not keeping this in mind to end up filling in shapes/spaces that are already defined without the goal of defining that relationship, and when you catch yourself doing that, it's important to take a step back and ask yourself whether what you're filling in is really more form shading, or perhaps capturing a local surface colour, rather than actually establishing a shadow being cast.
Now, this primarily applies within this course (as a stylistic choice focused on helping students focus on the 3D/spatial aspect of the constructions), but it is still valuable to understand the differences between what we're actually capturing - whether it's a cast shadow, whether it's form shading, or whether we're simply seeing a dark area on the surface of the object, and trying to capture that without necessarily knowing whether it's the result of the interaction of 3D forms/light sources, or whether it's just a marking on the object.
Anyway, as a whole you've done a great job. Just be sure to review the line extensions instructions on the cylinder challenge. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson - and the course with it - as complete. Congratulations!
Thank you for the feedback. The comment on how to use cast shadows to create more shape separation and distinction is a very useful one, and I’m still a beginner at it. Following up on that, I have a question regarding the 8th drawing (ship) - I really wanted to add some cast shadows to remove some line clutter, however as per reference, I couldn’t find distinct areas for that, as most of the planes had “different shades of grey” over distinctly dark areas, as could be seen with the truck well. Where would you have the cast shadows drawn? Or maybe it would have been okay to start “lying” - changing the light source and intensity for visual clearness? For example the two major columns in the middle would have cast the shadow on the deck and the base part.
All in all, I want to say Thank You for all the effort put into making this course. You are a superb instructor, always improving and wanting to make the course as best as possible. What’s even more is that you care about the “mental” side of students, in particular providing content on how to “do best to our current ability”. I found this quite challenging at the beginning of every lesson, however as I progressed my confidence would come back and I would be more at peace of whatever the outcome is. Managing expectations is probably one of the most important skills in life in general, and I’m very greatful to have participated in your curriculum that’s not just about the drawing but also about mindset and personal growth.
I also want to add saying “You were right” regarding the 50/50% rule. I’ve burned out multiple times throughout the 2.5 years it took me to complete it as the content here requires a lot of cognitive effort (especially when working full time as a programmer!) and takes time to digest. I would have benefited grately by respecting the black-white space concept of allowing myself to take it slow and do more of personal projects.
In regards to the ship, remember that when you're talking about the planes having different shades of grey, you're talking about form shading. When it comes down to laying down cast shadows, you're not actually looking at your reference to draw shadows from observation (which is likely to cause confusion between what is a cast shadow, and what is form shading). Rather, as explained here back in Lesson 2 in regards to texture, it all comes down to identifying and understanding the forms as they exist in relation to one another in 3D space, and casting shadows based on that understanding.
You did this well with the turret towards the front of the ship - however, in casting that shadow forward, you may have disadvantaged yourself somewhat because that means that any shadows being cast by the larger protruding structures behind it would also have to be cast forward, which wouldn't really clarify your drawing much. Instead, had that shadow been cast back, you wouldn't have as distinct a shadow shape, as it wouldn't make the actual barrel of the turret as distinct as casting forwards did, but you'd be able to have each big structure cast back upon the one behind it, helping to make the individual silhouettes more prominent.
With the shadow cast forwards, I think you'd mainly be relying on line weight to help clarify how the different lines pass over one another, as explained here.
Hope that helps clarify things. Anyway, thanks for the kind words, and to your "you were right," I give you an "I told you so!" :P
Right from when students hit the 50% rule early on in Lesson 0, they ask the same question - "What am I supposed to draw?"
It's not magic. We're made to think that when someone just whips off interesting things to draw, that they're gifted in a way that we are not. The problem isn't that we don't have ideas - it's that the ideas we have are so vague, they feel like nothing at all. In this course, we're going to look at how we can explore, pursue, and develop those fuzzy notions into something more concrete.